USA Mortgage's sole owner, president and CEO, Douglas Schukar, transferred ownership of the company to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
Schukar said he'd been mulling the idea of an ESOP since 2015, when a pair of employees abruptly resigned citing a lack of a succession plan at the company.
"I was stunned," he said. "They had asked a fair question and I didn't have a good answer for them so they left. So I thought then it was time to figure it out."
The transaction to transfer the St. Louis-based mortgage company, a division of DAS, to its employees was finalized at the end of 2017 following the completion of an independent valuation.
To be eligible to receive shares, employees need to complete 160 hours of service and meet other minimal criteria. Employees that participate in the plan are fully vested in the plan after six years of service.
Formed in 2001, USA Mortgage has grown to $1.5 billion in total loan volume and about 550 employees, according to Schukar. In Missouri, volume was $1.12 billion during 2017.
Schukar said the firm is targeting $1.8 billion in volume this year, which would set a company record.
Schukar will continue to serve as CEO.
As seen in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.